Fact Sheet: Punishment is Not a Public Health Strategy: The Criminalization of Viral Hepatitis

Fact Sheet

Laws criminalizing health conditions such as HIV and hepatitis are unscientific, overly harsh, and discriminatory. Criminalizing someone’s health status should never be the solution to a public health challenge. Yet there are 13 states that have laws that criminalize hepatitis--all of them also criminalize HIV.

The Center for HIV Law and Policy, Harm Reduction Coalition and the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable collaborated on this fact sheet showing how the criminalization of viral hepatitis is a brewing public health storm. With rates of hepatitis infections on the rise due to the burgeoning opioid epidemic, the barriers to safe syringe access, and the restrictions on access to curative treatments, advocacy and education are necessary to defend against the criminalization of hepatitis in the United States. 

See link below to download pdf version. 

In October 2018, the Center for HIV Law and Policy, Harm Reduction Coalition, and the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable presented a webinar on the criminalization of viral hepatitis, focusing on the intersections between harm reduction principles, current trends in syringe service programs and treatment access for viral hepatitis, and efforts to reform laws criminalizing HIV and viral hepatitis.

NOTE: CHLP's work on viral hepatitis is made possible through generous funding from the Drug Policy Alliance and Gilead.